Looking for a bird specimen from AMNH
August 12, 2019 3:11 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for a photo of a bird that I saw displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in the permanent collection. I’m getting a bird tattoo soon and I want to use this bird as a use as a reference. Are there pictures of the collection somewhere online?

Things I remember about this bird:
*It was displayed just after entering a new section on the left, off in a corner
*All the birds in this section were mounted identically, with their bodies vertical and their backs facing visitors, not posed in any active position
*The bird was not a bird of prey or anything super fancy. It had a long tail and was mostly black and white- not especially mottled or stripey. I think it might have been iridescent blue in parts.
posted by deus ex machina to Science & Nature (9 answers total)
Do you remember if you were on the second or the third floor? Database link, AMNH Birds of North America ebook.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:28 PM on August 12

Do you recall if it was a North American bid? I'm assuming so, given the museum. The long tail makes me think it's a scissor tail flycatcher...but your colors have me leaning towards the black-billed magpie. Pic.
posted by jquinby at 3:38 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]

Your description made me think of a magpie as well. They're like crows in intelligence, but prettier, and I've always wanted a tattoo of one, so I support this.
posted by Grandysaur at 3:52 PM on August 12

I’m pretty sure it was the 3rd floor, as I think there were North American birds of prey later in the hall. The bird was much more similar to the black-billed magpie than the flycatcher. The tail was more full than the flycatcher.
posted by deus ex machina at 3:55 PM on August 12

The other two long-tailed songbirds in N. America are:

Yellow-billed magpie
Fork-tailed flycatcher
posted by jquinby at 3:59 PM on August 12

Grackles (Boat-tailed and Great-tailed) are also large-tailed and mostly black with iridescent blue/purple, but without any white at all. Tossing that in there as a long-shot.
posted by jquinby at 4:08 PM on August 12

I feel pretty convinced that it was a black-billed magpie- thanks for that! It would still be nice to be able to see a picture of the bird as it was mounted in the museum exhibit if possible, as that’s a similar angle to what the tattoo will be.
posted by deus ex machina at 4:13 PM on August 12

I follow the AMNH on the Book Of Faces. They have a pretty strong presence there, and reaching out there or on other social media might be effective.
posted by ewok_academy at 8:29 PM on August 12

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